(MOBILE, Ala.) He became the face of animal cruelty in Alabama and even helped change the state's laws. Now a documentary about "Gucci" is in the works.
Back in 1994, Gucci was hanged from a tree and then set on fire. What's amazing is the dog actually survived. Producers spent time here recently interviewing Gucci's owner, lawmakers and reporters who played a part in making animal abuse a felony in Alabama. Alabama's most famous dog died at age 16.
"Gucci was the perfect story because cinematically its got a beginning, middle and and an end. It's a three act. A perfect three act structure with a happy ending no less," said filmmaker Gorman Bechard. Bechard interviewed several reporters including Local 15's James Gordon who had covered the Gucci story throughout the years in Mobile. Reporters who's stories helped draw attention to Gucci's plight as lawmakers debated what is now called the "Gucci Law."
"I've known of only one person who went to jail and that was the fellow who set Gucci on fire and he was sentenced to only a few weeks in jail but then that was shortened because they needed his cell," said Doug James who should be given a great deal of credit for passing the law. James a Spring Hill College professor adopted Gucci back in 1994 shortly after the dog was burned.
Bechard who has been in Mobile all week says his documentary will center around one man and a dog that went against the system.
"We've already had interest from Animal Planet but its definitely the kind of thing an HBO or a PBS sort of eats up," said Bechard. It will definitely be a tribute to Gucci, but even years after our laws were passed it will carry a message. "There needs to be more awareness people need to know these laws exist police need to know how to handle the problem when it arises - here I was very impressed on how animal control officers work with police," said Bechard.
James adds that Alabama's law still isn't perfect.
"The judge now has the power to do what her or she wants to do. If it's a fine yes, if its time in jail yes. I think its at the discretion of the judge and some might feel that it's not that important, " James.
The plan is to show the documentary at film festivals and regional theatres first. Doug James by the way has adopted another puppy "Waldo." This dog was found starving on the side of the interstate.